I have a habit of identifying my next goal while still in the process of working towards my current one. I'm not sure if this is a good thing or not. Maybe I do it out of training monotony boredom or something...but all I know is that I seem to do it consistently. I did it with Miami 70.3. I did it with Mercedes Marathon and I did it with Ironman Wisconsin.
I first stumbled upon the goal of running a 1:19:00 half marathon when cruising around the ING New York City Marathon page one day while training for the Mercedes Marathon. It became my new running goal while I was still trying to hit my current goal of running a sub-3 hour marathon.
I was unaware, and to be honest I am not sure how many people know, but you can qualify yourself to run the New York City marathon and not have to deal with the lottery. I am not sure of the % breakdown of qualified runners to lottery runners but based on the qualifying standards...I have got to think it can't be that high.
The NYC standards. Noticeably harder than Boston, but with a Half option that I thought was in range. It seemed to me the only way to run New York City. Earn It.
Coming off of the Mercedes Marathon in February, 8 weeks of PowerBooster Computrainer Classes (the beginning of Ironman Wisconsin training) and the Boston Marathon in April I found myself with a free entry to Indianapolis Mini Marathon in early May and thought heck way not I'll give it a go. My fitness was at a high level and I had not raced a half in years.
Conditions of the day (hot, humid, sunny, and muggy) and general fatigue from everything listed above proved too much for a 1:19:00. I crossed the line in 1:24:06 which was good for 123 out of 31,169. Sweet all take it for the day! It was time to get serious about Ironman Wisconsin anyway.
Flash foward to the weeks after Wisconsin. My fitness level was at an all time high and I was not quite ready to shut it down for the year and recharge. I didn't really want to run a full marathon so I thought why not give that 1:19:00 another go. Based on my current half time I projected that I could comfortably run around a 1:20 so 1:19:00 was in range depending on how the day goes.
Below is the plan I followed for the Monumental Half Marathon:
Concentrated Half - Marathon Training Plan
Super condensed half marathon training plan. Focus was getting miles in and the quality speed/tempo stuff.
Lindsey had a bunch of Back on My Feet stuff going on in the morning so we left the house early and got down the start line around 7:15. Earlier than I prefer, but it was nice to relax a little and use the bathroom a couple of times. After my initial warm-up, I hung with Lindsey and the Back on My Feet crew while they led the field in the morning Serenity Prayer (BoMF starts and ends every morning run with it.)
Once this was over I did a final 5 minute warm up. I felt pretty good during the warm up so I thought I might have a shot at 1:19:00.
Tucked into the 'Level 2' starting corral with a couple of minutes to spare. With it being a smaller race, they start the marathon and the half at the same time. I thought for sure based on my projected 1:20 I would have been seeded 'Level 1' right behind the 'Elite Corral' but for whatever reason the seeding didn't seem to be based on pace per mile because I was standing in my corral with marathoners gunning for 3:00. 7 minute miles is a lot different than 6 minute miles. Not that big of deal really...it just meant the first .3 miles would be spent weaving around some people.
Once the gun went off I spent the first little bit getting to the proper front of the race. By the time we turned on to Meridian, the field righted itself and it was clear sailing.
I spent the first mile or two trying to figure out how I felt...and I felt pretty good to be honest. Next item in my mind was to try and find a pack to run with to conserve energy and shield any headwinds that I was going to face. I found a pack early at Lucas Oil Stadium but they were marathoners gunning for 2:45...a little to slow for me so I soldiered on looking for another pack.
Around mile 2.5, I came up on a pack that looked like just what I was looking for: 2 guys and 2 girls packed tight running just at about 6 flat. Perfect! I quietly settled into the back...ready to rotate to the front if needed. Before I knew, the two guys were gone so it was just me at the two girls. As we neared the Circle to head north on Meridian the one girl dropped her gloves and decided to double back for them. The other girl slowed for her but I kept on.
I was alone again and in search of a pack. I quickly found 4 guys just up the road and tucked into the group as headed Northeast on Mass Ave. They were running what I thought to be about 6's so I thought good I'll run with them for as long as it goes. Turns out it didn't last long. As we hit mile 5 I noticed that the pace had slowed to 6:05. If I was going to chase smoke and go for 1:19:00 I couldn't do 6:05. Time to move on.
Mile 5 turns west on 16th St. and then on to Penn. and as we moved toward the 10K. I found my next partner. He was a Brooks runner doing about 5:56 or so. Again perfect. We traded looks and switched lead shoulders for the next couple of miles but as we neared the full/half split he started to veer right for full. I once again found myself in 'No Man's Land'.
I make the left hand turn onto 29th St. and see the next group. 1 guy and 1 girl: together, but separate at the same time, the guy looks familiar from the Back on My Feet 42K Relay. (he was on team Honey Badger Project... they won the race) I tuck in behind the girl, as she looked to be the stronger of the two at that point. As we head North on Washington Blvd. we drop the member of Team Honey Badger Project on the only noticeable incline on the course. It is not an incline at all really but compared to the rest of the course it is something.
As we get to 34th St. and make the right hand turn toward Central Ave. I drop the girl. Once again all alone, but at this point I don't care. I am feeling stronger and begin the old game of viewing the runner up the road as the next victim. "Hunter and Prey".
Keeping my pace steady around 5:55 I run up on the next guy at 36th and Central at about mile 8.5. It is local triathlon legend and owner of the Runners Forum- Michael "Smitty" Smith. I promptly pass and he gives me some encouraging words of "go get 'em". I think he dropped out with an injury as he was in the finish area without ever passing me again.
As I hit mile 9, I just told myself keep pushing. My legs are starting to hurt but my stride is the same and breathing is under control. Mile 9 was a 5:51. I had a shot I thought. Head down and go. Down Pennsylvania again. Left turn on 30th St by The Children's Museum and a quick left on to Meridian.
Mile 10 I hit in a split of 5:58 and come up on the last person I am going to pass. He is fading fast. I make a smooth pass...and he fades behind me. I think he is an Athletic Annex runner. I keep pushing. My legs still relatively good. I hit the mile 10.5 water stop and see Lindsey's parents. I don't think Greg notices me and I hear a big "Go Glenn Go" from Lori. I keep going.
I get to mile 11 with a 5:56 and start doing some math. At this point, I had roughly 13 minutes to cover the last 2.1 miles. I confident I could it...but needed to keep pushing.
I run past the library. I head toward the Scottish Rite and then I hear some footsteps behind me. I was really confused because I thought there is no way is the guy I passed at mile 10 coming back. No, it wasn't him. It was the girl that dropped her gloves at mile 2.5. She was back and I was shocked. She was moving. We run together for maybe a quarter mile and she drops me like I am standing still. I couldn't believe it. She goes on to easily catch the guy in front of me that I could not catch the last two miles. I keep on. I make the turn on to New York. Come across Illinois, Capital, Senate. .25 miles to go. I hit West St. and then make the final turn to the State House.
1:18:33. Then I headed to the car to drive up and meet Lindsey at mile 20 of the full to run her in.
Overall, I couldn't be happier. It was a great way to end to 2012 race season. I had made it my new running goal to qualify for the New York City Marathon and I wasn't sure if I was going to do it in 2012. Who knows if we will actually make the trip out to NYC next year or not only time will tell. Either way I know this I am already looking forward to make next goal.
Sub 2:45 at the Carmel Marathon in April.
But until then...I will enjoy a month of doing nothing but enjoying the fam and doing what I feel like with running or not running.